Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) often bring about mixed feelings in many communities. They can gain a poor reputation for numerous reasons, from inadequate understanding of how to run an effective association to misconceptions by homeowners of how the HOA operates. They can also have a very positive reputation when both sides work together and support the community as a whole. Taking the time to boost your HOA’s reputation can go a long way in developing a more productive relationship with homeowners.
- Know your role. Have a solid understanding of what the HOA is responsible for and what measures are beyond its control. There are many rules and laws that govern how an HOA operates. This can vary from state to state, so know what policies you must abide by and where there is more flexibility.
- Increase communication. Lack of communication can be a huge point of breakdown when it comes to an HOA’s reputation. Give homeowners multiple ways to get in touch with the board and ensure that these resources – whether email, voicemail, or mailbox – are checked regularly. Encourage homeowners to voice their questions and concerns so that they can be properly addressed and resolved. Distribute regular newsletters and emails to keep members up-to-date on what is occurring in the community.
- Build relationships. Hold social events and gatherings where members can get to know the HOA board and vice versa. Putting a face to a name and taking the time to have a personal conversation can build stronger trust and stimulate more active involvement. Get to know those members of the community who are well-known and have some pull. They can be a great resource for recruiting volunteers and spreading positive news.
- Improve transparency. Be upfront about budgeting and disclose how and where money is being spent. Include a detailed breakdown so homeowners can see how their money is used. This can help to clear up questions about funds, maintenance, repairs, and improvements. It also allows them to ask more specific questions.
Taking steps to be more proactive and improve communication can help elevate the reputation of your HOA. Many breakdowns occur due to lack of information or understanding, so be forthcoming with details as you have them and keep everyone up-to-date on what is going on. Remember that it can take time to push your reputation to the next level, so be patient and don’t give up.